Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele has been asked to investigate the legality of the City’s Safety and Security Investigation Unit (SSIU), which was until recently known as the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).
The request to investigate the SSIU was contained in a letter from Good party secretary general Brett Herron who also wants the unit dismantled.
On Wednesday evening Police Ministry Spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said they had not received the letter.
Herron, who also addressed his request to national police commissioner Khehla Sitole, said the City had a policing/intelligence structure that operated outside the parameters of the Police Act and, unlike the municipal police service, was not subject to provincial oversight.
“The SIU (or SSIU) is a rogue and dangerous arrogation of unlawful policing, security and intelligence powers by the City,” Herron said.
He said the City and Community Safety MEC claimed the unit was not part of the Municipal Police Service.
“In reply to my parliamentary questions about the activities of the SSIU the MEC said: ‘The SSIU does not fall under the Municipal Police Service, therefore the SSIU is not within the oversight mandate of the Department of Community Safety’.
“According to both the Western Cape Safety Plan, and the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (Leap) report to the Cape Town Council, the safety plan includes the employment of 150 investigators and these investigators will be deployed to the City’s SSIU.”
Herron said that the Leap plan indicates that the SSIU will focus on shadow investigation of criminal cases and also that the SSIU investigation team will also be responsible for information and intelligence gathering.
He said that this meant that despite the MEC and the City claiming that the SSIU does not form part of the Municipal Police Service, and is thus not subject to the provincial government or legislature oversight, the SSIU is an integral part of the Western Cape Safety Plan and is performing shadow criminal investigations and gathering intelligence.
“These are certainly policing activities especially since they support the policing component of the Western Cape Safety Plan. I am requesting that the national commissioner and the minister intervene in terms of the Police Act.”
Herron said the SSIU is headed by Reynold Talmakkies whom he claimed was appointed despite “his pending prosecution for tampering with police dockets in Mpumalanga, in his previous job, when he was a member of the SAPS”.
ANC provincial community safety spokesperson Mesuli Kama, said the mayor should take action and have Talmakkies suspended immediately.
“This employee has been implicated in serious allegations. It cannot be business as usual at the City’s fake SIU.”
Responding to queries about the unit, Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said: “We’ve obtained legal opinion that confirms that SSIU functions well within the law and is the same as the investigative units in Johannesburg created under the ANC there.
“SSIU has never reported to a politician and reports to an executive director as do all other line departments.”
Meanwhile, leader of the opposition in the provincial legislature Cameron Dugmore (ANC), has said the SSIU should never have been created in the first place.
He said all indications are that it had actually become a shield to protect corrupt City councillors and officials.
Reacting to the ongoing court matter and investigation into allegations of massive fraud and corruption in the City’s Housing Maintenance department, Dugmore said: “This self-created City SSIU is part of the corruption problem. All indications are that it had actually become a shield to protect corrupt City councillors and officials.
“On July 6, 2021, I wrote to the national SIU and on the basis of information that I shared with them, requested them to consider approaching the President to issue a proclamation to investigate the City.”